So you’re looking to add a new web application tool, product, or service to your repertoire. Does it need to be whole and perfect before you share it with the world? Absolutely not! In some cases, your most valuable strategy may be to setup a MVP, or minimum viable product.
The idea is to create the smallest working version of a new product that will represent your concept. You share the paired down version with your target audience and gather feedback. Lots and lots of feedback. There are several benefits to this lean startup technique.
Revealing your fledgling product to your customers means they can help you to shape it into something that will work well for everyone in the long run. You have the opportunity to build your business with them. Yes, there’s a risk that your customers may lose some respect for your company if they think the new product is unorganized and all over the place, but keep in mind you’re letting loose the minimum viable product; it may be minimum, but make sure it’s still viable. Allow your customers to help you raise your MVP and you will not only be more in line with what they want, but they’ll feel investment in the product in ways they might not if they hadn’t seen those messy first steps.
The alternative is to build all the bells and whistles of what you assume your customers want and see what happens after that long development period. The risk here is if they don't like your idea at all, oftentimes the time and money waste is immense.
Face it; every change isn’t going to be a home run. Another advantage of setting up a MVP scenario, though, is that you get to test new ideas quickly and change them just as quickly if they don’t work out favorably.
By building small portions of your business concept and introducing them to your customer base methodically, you can create small experiments to improve your business on consistent intervals. More experiments means eventually getting more right over time for your target customers. The more you can make your customers happy, generally, the more revenue you can generate. It’s a win-win.
Launching a lean startup strategy means you can decide to make a hard left turn just as easily as you can choose to continue to test. If your initial experiments provide feedback that your business idea isn't something your customers want, changing it along the way will be significantly easier than having to scrap a finished product and start again from square one. Validated feedback along the way means you’re less likely to have your heart set on flawed concept work, but will be able to make educated decisions that will better align your business idea or solution to the audience its intended for, or for a completely new audience — depending on how you pivot.